US wants to stay in Mindanao


    THE United States wants to remain involved in the campaign to quell Islamic militancy in Mindanao, its
    ambassador to Manila said Tuesday after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kick out American forces.

    Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the security threat in the conflict-plagued region was “very serious,” warning the Islamic State group was among a number of foreign militant organizations trying to increase its involvement there.

    “We’ve helped the Philippines as it has reduced the threat over time,” Goldberg said in a television interview.

    “But we are concerned obviously about any new intrusion of ISIS (Islamic State) or any other group that wants to take advantage of open space in the south of the Philippines. So we want to continue doing that,” he added.

    But Duterte upped the ante and told the US to forget a 2014 military deal that allows the rotational presence of American troops in the country, saying “I do not want to see any military man of any other nation except the Filipino soldiers.”

    Speaking to reporters before leaving for Tokyo, the President said that the US could “forget” the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed by the previous Aquino administration.

    “If I stay here long enough, one day that EDCA will – if it is an executive agreement then I will just …,” Duterte said, ending his statement by sweeping his hands.

    Arriving in Tokyo for a visit, Duterte called the Americans “bullies” and told his Western critics: “Do not f*** with our dignity.”

    ‘Pack up and leave’
    Duterte took issue at the statements of Daniel Russel, the US assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, who asked Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Monday in a visit to Manila to tone down the anti-American rhetoric.

    “You know, I did not start the fight, they are the ones who started it,” the President said of his American critics, recalling that Goldberg had criticized him during the election campaign for his remarks on the jailhouse rape of an Australian missionary in Davao City in 1989.

    “These Americans are really crazy. Their style is to walk here. They think they are somebodies,” Duterte said, as he held up a newspaper with headlines reporting the criticism from Russel.

    “Russel says ‘Duterte comments causing worries in business communities.’ Then you pack up and leave. We will recover, I assure you.”

    Duterte said he was not a “lapdog” of the United States, and again voiced anger at American and European criticism of supposed extrajudicial killings on his watch.

    “Do not make us dogs. Do not. As if I am a dog with a leash and then you throw bread far away that I cannot reach,” he said.

    Rotating force
    The United States had deployed from 2002 to 2014 a rotating force of about 600 troops to the southern Philippines to train local soldiers in how to combat Islamic militants.

    The Mindanao presence was scaled down after the United States deemed the militants there had “largely devolved into disorganized groups resorting to criminal undertakings,” according to a US statement in 2014.

    Islamic militant attacks spiked after that, most prominently with the homegrown Abu Sayyaf group abducting dozens of foreigners and locals to extort ransoms.

    About 100 American troops remain in Mindanao, Goldberg said on Tuesday.

    But Duterte, who took office on June 30, has said they are adding to tensions with the Islamic communities in the southern island.

    Duterte, who describes himself as a socialist and part Muslim, has called for their ejection as part of a general effort to dilute his nation’s 70-year alliance with the United States.

    Islamic militants have waged a decades-long separatist insurgency in Mindanao that has claimed more than 120,000 lives.

    The region is the ancestral homeland of the Muslim minority in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

    The major rebel organizations are no longer waging armed struggle, but harder-line splinter groups such as the Abu Sayyaf have remained a threat.

    Goldberg warned Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian group responsible for the deadly 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, and other foreigners were in Mindanao.

    “This is a very serious issue,” Goldberg said.

    “We are not just dealing with Abu Sayyaf but groups from the region like Jemaah Islamiyah. We see increasing efforts from ISIS to become involved.”


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      I believe that the AFP can handle the Southern Philippines terrorists all together . It is just a matter of resolve and political willl of the leadership.

    2. Dalila is just one of the foõls with high conspiracy. With this mentality, that’s why we cannot become a self dependent nation. If Malaysia is just a dummy, why their country is more prosper than us? Unlike our country with too many crab mentality. To be honest, we are the one who should become more prosper than them because we been colonized by a rich Uncle Sam, but why many of our people become beggars in our own rich homeland??

    3. Much that I am pro American but it is better for us Pilipinos with our corrupt society to run this country without the US. Economically, this is bad for us but we deserve to be poor. We deserve to be drug addicted society. We deserved to be uneducated, dirty Pilipinos. If that is what who we are, let it be.

    4. Robert Provost on

      The USA granted the Philippines independence and the returned and rescued the Philippines from the Japanese invasion. The Philippines is a Sovereign Nation. Does the USA have a NEED to be involved in Philippine Internal Affairs? We have enough troubles at home and elsewhere in the world. You REALLY want us to leave? Our Ex-Pat citizens and American businesses too? Be careful what you wish for.
      Roberto says ” Let us solve this problem our own way. ” Duterte said “I do not want to see any military man of any other nation except the Filipino soldiers.”
      You’re VERY close to getting what you want. If you want to rethink it, I’d suggest you not waste any time doing it.

      • danilo futalan on

        then leave….why haggle!!!!missed something.read phillipine history made by the americans and you will understand.

    5. Dear Duterte

      Your language ability is disappointing. Please learn to use polished, cultured
      English language words

      Use of fowl language lowers the dignity of the Philippines’ leader..

      Your intention to deal with drug leaders severely is noble.But do not over-glorify
      your pursuit against drug dealers.

    6. Why insist on staying to quell the rebels, if DU30 has headways already and can do it by dealing with them by mutaul understanding?

    7. US soldiers we are requesting you to leave Mindanao …. it has nothing to do with US what is happening in our domestic affairs in Mindanao … that is not your training ground … JUST GET OUT…

    8. US presence in Mindanao is more strategic than you realize, it is to secure the vital sea traffic/trade lane, the straits between S Mindanao and Sabah. If China continues its 9 dash line claim and it will, the US and its trade allies will be locked out of SE Asia. The alternate maritime trade route logically is the RP Sulu sea, RP inland Sea, W RP sea but most importantly the S RP sea connecting with the straits of Malacca. The US intends to use Mindanao like the British used Gibraltar to guard the entrance to the Mediterranean sea called the Pillars of Hercules.

    9. Americans can not solve insurgency and terrorism in Mindanao!

      TO SOLVE INSURGENCY & TERRORISM depends on the President of the country? If the head of the state (Philippines) is very decisive, then peace and order be can achieved the soonest time. Like now, the present administration invited and conducted peace talks to all parties (NDF, MNLF/MILF) who are against the government in order to solve this perennial problem. I believe if any of these group reject the invitation of the government, surely a military solution will be appropriate, as what the government did to ASG. With the intensity of the military operation, many ASG are surrendering now.

      Therefore, we do not need the US in the country!

      Filipinos have realized that it is useless and not conducive to the country by KILLING EACH OTHER. We have to collaborate each other to build our Nation. SELF-RELIANCE! Help ourselves and do not rely from other countries. If aid and assistance are extended to us with no string attach, MOST WELCOME!

      The President knows best!

      We should support our Beloved President!

      Long live President Duterte and the Philippines!

    10. The US is fighting terrorists all around the world. In almost every other country they do not have troops on the ground to do that fighting. Their fight is with information and advice to take action. That is how it should be here in the PH.

      • This is a complete BS! US Senator Hayden of Virginia State just admitted today in a press interview that Washington has ties with ISIS. That if not US has again intervened when Russia came to help the Syrian army, the war could have already ended and the Syrians could have started rebuilding their country now and their refugees returning.

        The truth of the matter is, US don’t like to leave Mindanao because of Sabah. US is protecting the interest of UK in Sabah because UK has a share of the Oil revenues being extracted in Sabah. Actually Malaysia is just a dummy of UK in the ownership of Sabah. Legally, Sabah was not turned over to Malaysia. This is the reason whyi US is supporting MILF with arms and funding through Malaysia for MILF program of Muslim Mindanao to have its own set of government and this government will drop its claim to Sabah. The participation of US in this MILF PROGRAM is very obvious when the talks was held in Malaysia with the presence of US Ambassador Kelly.

        The US presence and active role in the MILF struggle for governance has already cost lives to our civilians and police officers. The 2 bombings in Davao (airport and pier) was their handiwork and one of the Americans was caught when he was wounded when the bomb he was tinkering with accidentally exploded. He was hospitalized but the FBI agents came and spirited him out which made then Mayor Duterte very angry and got meeting with the US Ambassador that they will investigate and until now that Mayor Duterte is now the President of the Philippines, the US has not shown a investigation report.

      • Dakila is just one of the foõls with high conspiracy. With this mentality, that’s why we cannot become a self dependent nation. If Malaysia is just a dummy, why their country is more prosper than us? Unlike our country with too many crab mentality. To be honest, we are the one who should become more prosper than them because we been colonized by a rich Uncle Sam, but why many of our people become beggars in our own rich homeland??

    11. Roberto Saguing on

      Why are you here? What are you doing here? If you want to help, why not just train the AFP how to use your equipment and then go? You had been here for a long time, why was these insurgents not yet apprehended if you are that good? If as President Duterte said (based from his dialogue with local Muslim leaders), that your very presence sparks more rebellion among the Muslim Filipinos – then your must really go and leave Mindanao. Let us solve this problem our own way.

      • The US merely helps with intelligence and tactics. The Philippine military has failed to do the work. Maybe because their equipment is inadequate as a result of past corruption.

    12. Who organized Al Qaida and ISIS? People who wants the answer of it must google or search thru google.

      • in addition, who trained Saddam? Saddam was used to fight Iran. who killed saddam? who trained Osama? Osama was used to combat russia in afghanistan. osama won, di ba? kaya, bumagsak ang berlin wall. who killed obama?
        okay. ngayon naman, enemy nila ang presidente. kaya, di nyo ba nahalata, election campaign pa lamang, extrajudicial killings na ang in-issue nila laban sa kanya. after the elections, the liela de liema-trillianes tandem is the LOUD VOICE while the LP leadership is the WHISPERING VOICE in “their media,”
        The Romans posit, “Vox Populi, vox Dei.” In English, “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” Ergo, whoever fights the duly-elected Pres. Duterte is FIGHTING YHWH. Are they angels of Angel Satan, the first ever one who defied the YHWH ?